Fertiliser prices shoot up in Kashmir as rupee depreciates

While the rising fuel prices have also impacted the farming community as the freight rates have shoot up.

Saqib Malik
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 23 2018 11:50PM | Updated Date: Sep 23 2018 11:50PM
Fertiliser prices shoot up in Kashmir as rupee depreciatesRepresentational Image

The depreciating rupee has become a major concern for the farmers and growers in Kashmir as the prices of two majorly used imported fertilisers in apple orchards and paddy fileds have increased by upto 25 percent in last few months. 

While the rising fuel prices have also impacted the farming community as the freight rates have shoot up. 

As chemical fertilizers Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP) are imported from foreign countries, the depreciating rupee has made these fertiliser prices go through the roof. This falling rupee means Indian good will become cheaper in foreign currencies, while the imports including the fuel and fertilisers will become costlier.

Ghulam Muhammad Dar, chairman, All India Kissan Sabha J&K State Council told Greater Kashmir that prices of chemical fertilisers increasing sharply  has direct impact on the farmers of the Valley who have been “already suffering due to erratic weather conditions”

“When value of US dollar stood at Rs 65 maximum retail price for DAP chemical fertilizers was Rs 1026 upto December, 2017. Then January, 2018 it started increasing to Rs 1200 and at present it is Rs 1400 per bag of 50 kilograms,” Dar said.

 

Dar said when value of US dollar stood at Rs 65, MOP was priced at Rs 550 per 50 kg bag upto December. “Then from January the same fertiliser bag costed Rs 624 and now it is Rs 950 per 50 kg bag,” he added. 

While Diammonium Phosphate which is the most popular phosphatic fertiliser because of its high analysis and good physical properties has seen rates increase by 15 percent. It is imported from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and USA. Farmers say they have no option but to purchase these fertilisers. Diammonium Phosphate prices currently are 25 percent higher per bag of 50 kg over what farmers paid in the rabi planting season in 2017, said farmers.

“The Valley-based farmers due to various reasons such as erratic weather and competitive market do not get enough returns on the produce when they come to sell it. Increase in the prices of chemical fertilizer would make us suffer losses of the produce. Farmers are paying upto 20-25 percent more for fertilisers this sowing season also because of increases in global prices of key raw materials phosphate and potash,” says Dar.

On the other hand, MOP mostly imported from Jordan, Canada and Germany  is a fertiliser necessary for agricultural produce. “Most of the livelihood and economy is dependent on agriculture sector.  These fertilizers are used in apples, paddy and all the vegetables and we can’t do without them,” said Bashir Ahmad, a farmer.  

“No matter whether farmers or orchardists use other products on their agricultural produce but fertilizers are necessary,” he added.

Muhammad Yousuf Dar, an apple grower said central government should increase the subsidy of chemical fertiliasers so that the impact of increase in cost of chemical fertilizers does not adversely affect growers.

“As fertiliser is an essential input in agriculture strong fertiliser related policies are crucial for any national effort aiming at improving agricultural productivity. As a major step towards achieving this objective, the government should increase the subsidy,” Dar said. Fertilizer trade players who have already been demanding exemption of fertilizers from e-way billing system have also demanded intervention from the government to provide subsidy for fertilisers.

Tahir Wani, managing director, The Kashmir Apex Agriculture Cooperative Society said considering the practical problems being faced by farmers in fertiliser supply and distribution system, central government has already taken steps for farmers in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and even their state government’s have already exempted fertiliser movement from e-Way bill. “ There is so much the centre is doing for welfare of farmers by providing them timely sops. We hope there is some sort of relief for Kashmir-based farmers as well,” Wani said.

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